Three Favorite Family Recipes: To Eat, To Wash, To Play


Welcome to the April 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing their recipes, their stories, their pictures, and their memories.


How can you resist a family recipe?  We have a ton of favorites here, but for this month’s Carnival of Natural Parenting (hey there, it’s been awhile!) I will share three that have been in heavy rotation in the past year here.  One is a food recipe, one is a tried and true homekeeping recipe, and the last is something fun for the kids (and kids at heart).   Hope you enjoy!  Can’t wait to check out the other carnival partipant’s recipes, I know there will be some good ones!


To Eat: Gluten Free Orange Vanilla Sugar Cookies

This recipe is a new family favorite, not old, but I suspect it will become one.   We’ve recently become gluten-free, so we are working on finding some new favorites as well as adapting the old!  This recipe started out as a lemon ginger cookie, which I found here thanks to Pinterest.  I did not have lemon or ginger on hand, however, so I changed things up and was pleased with the result! These cookies did not spread out wide and flat for me (as they mention in the original recipe), but did spread some and were the perfect combo of chewy and crispy.  I did not make this recipe dairy-free this time, but I assume swapping out the butter for coconut oil or a coconut oil/margarine blend would work well too.  Enjoy!


12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated cane sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoons vanilla extract (or the seeds from half of one vanilla pod)
2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour mix (homemade or premixed/purchased.  Add 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum if your mix does not already have it)
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 T orange zest


Preheat oven to 375° F / 190° C

Combine softened butter and sugar and whip in mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and zest, beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine gluten-free all purpose flour, baking powder & salt. Whisk to mix thoroughly.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, gradually to avoid a mess. Beat until well combined, scraping the sides occasionally.

Roll dough into balls, with 1-2 T of batter per ball.   Place on cookie sheet (I lined mine with a silicone baking sheet).  Leave space on the baking sheet for them to expand!

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are set and the edges are golden brown. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least five minutes before removing with a large spatula to a cooling rack.

Makes about 20 cookies


To Wash:  Make Your Own Powdered Laundry Detergent

I found this while scouring the web a few years ago, and it took me a good year or so to finally break down and try it.  I’m not sure why I waited so long, I love it!  It’s easy, affordable, and works great for us.  I know there are liquid recipes out there with similar ingredients that allow you to stretch the ingredients much further, but I am partial to the convenience of this simple recipe and a powdered detergent.

DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent

  • One bar of Fels Naptha laundry soap (or other bar soap of your choice, see note below)
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda (NOT regular baking soda)

Directions:  Shred soap as finely as you wish (I used my regular box grater on the normal “shredded cheese” side — it washes clean).  Dump into large bowl.  Add borax and soda, mix well (I like to crunch it up a bit with my hands).  Pour into an airtight tub, add in a tablespoon scoop left over from a storebought laundry detergent, if you have one. Use one tablespoon for normal loads, perhaps a bit more for heavily soiled loads.  Click here for original post with a bit more info!

*Bar soap options: You can experiment with any bar soap, though Fels Naptha is a laundry soap known for being good on stains and works well for me.  I’ve heard recommendations for Ivory, Pure & Natural, Zote, & Dr. Bronner’s.  I sometimes use a simple castile bar soap and it works fine as well!

To Play: Flubber! 

This recipe has been around my world for awhile, as I learned it when volunteering at our local science museum as a teen.  Here is more of the backstory from a previous post.  I made it countless times at OMSI, then for my mom’s preschool camps (and for my parents and my own fun, admittedly!), and now my kids have been enjoying it for years.  This recipe originally came from my old OMSI cookbook, thanks OMSI!  


  • 2 cups Elmer’s White Glue
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • food coloring (I use a lot for bright colors)
  • 3 teaspoons Borax (I’ve found 2.5 works better!!!)
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (make sure its warm enough to help dissolve the borax!)

In a large bowl, blend glue and 1 1/2 cups water. Add food coloring to desired brightness.

In  a separate bowl, combine Borax with 1 1/3 cups water and stir to dissolve.

Pour two mixtures together, and immediately start kneading with your hands.  It feels funny, but keep at it!   The OMSI recipe says to take the flubber out of the bowl now, leaving the remaining water behind.  I don’t do this!!!  This makes the it a lot more stiff (that and adding the full 3 t’s of Borax).  Leave the flubber in there and just keep kneading it until most, if not all, the water absorbs into it.  Then it gets nice and stretchy and pliable and ready to enjoy.

A few things to keep in mind:  This is not good for eating!  I’m not sure if its officially “non-toxic” due to the Borax, though the amount in it is small.  But yuck!  Its pretty gross and I think they’d  just spit it out if they tasted it (mine did!) but just keep that in mind if you have mouthy toddlers. Also, part of the fun of this lovely tactile stuff is that it runs, a bit like a liquid, if left to its own devices.  Because of this, flubber is best played with on a tray with raised edges, to keep it from dripping its way off the table.

While it comes off most things pretty easily, if flubber sits on cloth/clothes it starts to absorb into the fibers and is very hard to get out (eventually its just hardened glue). When that happens I do have to sometimes scrape it off clothes and then pour boiling water on it (the fresher the better) to get out the remaining bit. Vinegar dissolves it really really well off of anything, too!  If you have some sort of waterproof paintshirt that can prevent such mishaps.  Don’t let this stop you from trying it — its really not very messy!

Also, just store the flubber in a large ziplock bag or airtight container — should last a few weeks or more, depending on usage.  It’s fun on its own, but also great to add household utensils or plastic (washable) toys to play with.  Have fun! 


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • German Red Cabbage: A Family Tradition — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares her favorite dish and a part of her family’s history.
  • Rotisserie Chicken Recipes for Meal Planning — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama shares a new recipe that is in her family’s meal-planning rotation. Check out how she uses a rotisserie chicken to get through the week.
  • Grandma Wicken’s Sugar Cookies — Jana Falls at Jananas talks about how special her Grandma’s sugar cookies made her feel.
  • Recipe: Seed and Bean Burgers — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings shares one of her favourite frugal recipes that is also super-healthy and totally delicious.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich — Lisa at The Squishable Baby PULLS dinner together for the kids.
  • The Best Banana Muffin Recipe (Gluten Free & Vegan) — Dionna of Code Name: Mama’s adventures in gluten free baking have not been 100% successful. But today she is guest posting at Fine and Fair to share a banana muffin recipe that will knock your socks off!
  • The Pierogie Mama Whips Up Strawberry Pierogies! — Bianca at The Pierogie Mama shares her family’s recipe for strawberry pierogies…a sweet, summery version of the Polish dumplings that she affectionately named her daughter after.
  • Mom’s Cookbook — Tree at Mom Grooves digs into the big book her mom created for her six daughters and shares a favorite family recipe.
  • Crispy Duck Confit — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes the liberty of starting a family recipe tradition with this super simple, totally delicious crispy duck confit.
  • Stovetop BBQ Chicken — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares a yummy BBQ chicken recipe that you can make on the stovetop in less than 25 minutes, fridge to table!
  • Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Casserole w/Bacon — Martine at Whey Beyond the Naked Truth shares a naked food twist on an old family favorite!
  • Strawberry Panna Cotta — KerryAnn at shows you her favorite dessert, a quick and easy Strawberry Panna Cotta that she enjoys so much, she had it instead of a birthday cake this year.
  • Special crepes for a special day — Mikko at Hobo Mama is learning to cook his grandma’s signature holiday meal alongside his dad.
  • Three Favorite Family Recipes: To Eat, To Wash, To Play — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings is back with three family favorites: gluten-free shortbread, DIY powdered laundry detergent, and something fun for the kids: homemade “Flubber”!
  • Black Bean Soup Forever — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot shares a soup recipe that’s been around forever.
  • Do you want to know a secret? — SRB at Little Chicken Nuggets lets go of her mac and cheese recipe, a comfort food favourite for friends and family for years.
  • Creating Our Own Family Recipes — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM shares how she’s trying to create meals that her girls will want to pass down to their own children some day.
  • Vranameer Chicken: A Family Recipe — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares a recipe that reminds her of childhood and more specifically, of her mother. It’s a South African take on sweet and sour chicken and what it lacks in healthy it makes up for in tantalising to the taste buds.
  • One Recipe, Three Uses: Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Dish Soap, and Hand Soap — If you love saving money and time, you’ll love this green recipe from Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network.
  • Our Family’s Favorite Pies — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares recipes and tutorials for the quintessential American dessert.
  • Deliciously Easy Crock Pot ChiliLactating Girl shares her crock pot chili that is not only quick and easy, but awesome.
  • All-Purpose Crock Pot PorkCrunchy Con Mommy‘s simple “recipe” for cooking perfect pork in the crock pot is for whatever mood her family is in!
  • Family Rules: A Recipe for Harmony — Cooped-up kids + winter weather + frazzled parents can all blend together into a recipe for disaster. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares what brought back the peace in her house.
  • Favorite Healthy Family Recipes — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her family’s healthy eating experiences along with links to free printable vegetarian recipes that her family has created with love.
  • Grandma’s Banana Bread — Megan at The Boho Mama has early and fond memories of her grandma’s banana bread. It’s love in a loaf!
  • Family Comfort Food — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares a recipe handed down that moms have made for their kids, for regular meals as well as to comfort.


Related posts:

8 comments to Three Favorite Family Recipes: To Eat, To Wash, To Play

  • We love making Flubber! I definitely find the vinegar helps with any oopses. That cookie recipe sounds delicious, and I’ve been thinking for ages about making my own laundry detergent. Yours sounds nice and easy! Do you find it works well on stains and on cloth diapers?

  • It’s a little bit of everything! I’ve never made Flubber like this – I’m anxious to try it for my sensory-oriented toddler (although of course it will end up in her mouth). And the cookies sound so good, can you just make some for me? 😉

  • Hey,

    The flubber is awesome! We are going to make that for a homeschool project! Thanks so much for the idea!

    I am also going to try your laundry detergent. Did you just get those ingredients at a regular store, or did you need to go to a specialty store to get that soap?

  • SRB

    Well this post has it all! We are staring down a week’s worth of freezing rain, so I think I’ll make these cookies while the toddler plays with flubber. Do you know how the laundry soap does on cloth diapers? We’re having a tough time with detergent these days…

  • that looks like the best gluten free cookie recipe ever!! We’ve tried a few too.
    And I guess I need to figure out what the heck Borax is! I’ve heard the name in the course of my life, but never had it around.
    How much fun that you added recipes that weren’t just food. I didn’t even think of that!

  • I have been wanting to make my own laundry detergent, so thanks for the recipe! :) And can’t wait till my littles are old enough to play with flubber!

  • shares a recipe that reminds her of childhood and more specifically, of her mother. It’s a South African take on sweet and sour chicken and what it lacks in healthy it makes up for in tantalising to the taste buds.

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